April 13, 2010 in Energy efficiency

Home Star

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Home Star, is it coming? If this bill passes it will make a big difference in incentives for consumers who install energy efficient retrofits.

What is HOME STAR?


Home Star is a legislative proposal designed to create jobs by providing short‐term incentives for residential energy efficiency improvements. The program will drive new private investment into the hard hit construction and manufacturing sectors, while saving consumers money on their energy bills. By building on state programs and existing industry capacity for the retrofits themselves as well as quality assurance, the program will be fast‐acting, in addition to increasing consumer awareness of residential energy efficiency.

The bill provides $6 billion dollars of incentives to the American people, coupled with private investment, to generate an estimated three million home retrofits and tens of thousands of jobs, and to strengthen American industry.


$1000‐1500 Silver Star rebates. Consumers can receive between $1000 and $1500 for each retrofit, with a benefit not exceeding $3,000 or at least 50% of total project costs (whichever is less). Eligible measures include insulation, duct sealing, water heaters, HVAC units, windows, and doors. Rebates will be targeted to the most energy efficient categories of upgrades, focusing on products primarily made in the United States. All retrofits must be installed by a certified contractor.

$3000 Gold Star rebates. Consumers interested in whole home retrofits would be eligible for up to $3000 for a comprehensive energy audit and retrofits tailored to achieve a 20% energy savings in the home. Consumers can receive additional incentives for energy savings higher than 20%. The Gold Star rebate program would build on existing whole home retrofit programs, such as EPA’s Home Performance with Energy Star program and DOE’s building programs.

Rebate process. Consumers are eligible for discounted prices of the installation of Silver Star measures at the point of sale. Upon job completion, contractors submit rebate requests to rebate aggregators, such as small independent building material dealers, large national home improvement chains, merchants across the country, energy efficiency installation professionals and utility energy efficiency programs (including rural utilities) and then are reimbursed by the federal government.


Contractor qualifications. Contractors need to be licensed and insured to install the retrofits.

Independent quality assurance providers are responsible for field audits after job completion in order to ensure proper installation and measurable energy savings for consumers. States oversee the quality assurance implementation.

Financing support. Funding is included in the proposal to support State and local financing programs.

If you would like to read more download this article by Bracken Hendricks and Tom Kenworthy:

Download this column (pdf)

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